Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wreck This Journal...Part Two!

Hey guys! Some of you may remember a previous post I did a little while ago about my beloved Wreck This Journal. Well, it's back, and it's more wrecked than ever. Once thing I noticed right off the bat is how drastically the journal changes over time. I had to hurry up and take pictures before it evolved into a completely different creature again!

  Needless to say I've been working with my WTJ a lot lately. It's become my new "busy project" that I do during my idle time (very similar to my boobs piece, now that I think of it!) I feel like I have the freedom to work on more than one page at once, so that keeps things interesting for me. I'm constantly doodling and doing weird mini craft projects now.

Thanks for the idea, Patrick.

One thing I finally finished up was cover and spine of my book. I had a problem with my book trying to "shed its skin" so instead of letting the entire cover peel off, I went ahead and glued down the remaining pieces and colored the spine with crayons. I think it looks wicked now, like a rainbow is trying to burst through the page seams or something.

 I also recently finished the copyright and dedication pages. I tried to insert cryptic secret messages in by highlighting certain words and letters.

I didn't mention this page the first time I wrote about my Wreck this Journal, but I should have. I added my own table of contents and it really got me passionate about using my journal for some reason. Possibly because it's easier to pick a page to work on when they're all listed out in front of you!

Blue Bats Galore.. The instructions page is definitely one of my favorite pages now. I used highlighter, crayons, and a little bit of india ink. "Work against your better judgement" is the only instruction I need to keep in mind.

THE BLOB always scared me when I was a kid.
Another one of the classic pages, "Poke holes using a pencil." The first page is watercolor and india ink while the second page is colored pencil. On the second image, I gouged the outline into the paper with pen so that the other side has a cool embossed texture to it. I totally love that kind of stuff. 

Whenever my hands got especially dirty, I made a point to press them down on this page before I washed them. It's scary how cruddy the paper is now.
This is another one of my favorite pages. My boyfriend gave me a bunch of flowers, so I dried them out and glued them in my book. I really enjoy using flowers in my work, their colors are beautiful and they can have a very paper-like texture.
Speaking of my boyfriend, he especially wanted to "help me" do this page for some reason. I can't imagine why! Afterwards, I added some of my troll face stickers, they'll be good for future targets.

Dirt creature!

In the spirit of recklessness, I challenged myself to get more people involved in the process of my book. I got a great opportunity to do this when I went over to my relatives house for this past Easter. I have a lot of little cousins running around that literally jumped at the chance to help mess up my WTJ. They were already playing outside in the yard, so it was the perfect setting to complete some pages which involved getting your hands (or feet) dirty. I definitely got what I wished for, and was soon overwhelmed by piles of dirt clods and patches of dried grass that were donated by my little cousins to put in my book. I have to give them credit for not only their enthusiasm but their creativity aswell. At one point they were just using the dirt clod chunks as crude coloring untensils... brilliant. Wreck this Journal was made for kids, they have such a free spirit when it comes to art.

"Rub here with dirt"
Stand here and wipe your feet.  Drawing out where your feet should go first helps.

Tie a string to the journal and go for a walk..
but where are you going??

These two pages demand that I physically throw the book around. I haven't worked up the gall to do that yet, but I did start decorating those pages instead!

Two of my more stylish pages. Instead of making paper chains, I decided to make paper braids. I also added some laminated bananas to my fruit stickers page...There's five of them I think, and they're super cute. I was going to make them into bookmarks but I like them better this way.  Oh and also, if you didn't notice, I whip my hair back and fourth.
"Sew this page" so far... Umm I think I'm doing it wrong. Still a work in progress..
I will write more about this mysterious creature later.

I added some water color and blue ballpoint pen to my free'd fishies page.
"Color Outside the Lines"Pt. 1
"Color Outside the Lines" Pt. 2
This one's a two-fer. I decided to be a little different when it came to my interpretation of the "color outside the lines" page. Instead of coloring outside the lines, I cut along the lines. In result, I was able to do this cool peep hole effect. I used good ol' reliable crayons, pens and sharpies for the colors and detail.

Another one still in process. Trace your hand. In my case, I traced several.
Magic's in the makeup! So I put makeup all over the back cover of my Journal. Now it's beautiful.

I am no where near finished with my Wreck this Journal, but I'm savoring it while it lasts. It's been a very inspiring experience so far, and I can't wait to get into even more zany journaling adventures. Expect even more updates from me in the future about this subject. There are still so many pages to go until my goal of completely filling up the book...

In the mean time, is there anyone else out there that's in the process of wrecking their own journals? I'd love to see your techniques and interpretations of the directions.

P.S If you don't have a WTJ yet, go out there and get one! It's a great exercise for big and little kids alike.

My Journey With Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal 
1) The Beginning.....
2) WTJ Part Two
3) WTJ Part Three - Vengeance 
4) WTJ Part Four - The Reckoning
5) WTJ Part Five - Return of the Journal (Final)

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Junk Windchime

The other day I got inspiration from an unlikely source. 

A crushed Budweiser beer can circa 1970.
My dad just randomly walked up to me and handed me this old, dirty, crushed up beer can. At first I was (naturally) confused, but then he explained the significance of this strange artifact- it's a classic Budweiser can from the 1970's.  You can tell how old it is by its use of a pull tab mechanism which haven't been used on beer cans in over 30 years. The idea that the can had endured for so long was incredible to me... It's almost twice my age and there's no telling how much it had already been through in its lifetime. For a piece of junk, that's pretty impressive.

 In a weird way, I have respect for this can.  I just had to do an artwork that implemented this gnarly artifact in one way or another.

My found objects
wind chime.
 That's where the wind chime idea came to mind. The crushed can wasn't the only strange piece of metal to accumulate in my area. I went out and searched for more "debris" and found many more fascinating trinkets and pieces. My dad also helped by donating some more metal pieces he found while at work. I raided my bead collection and found even more tiny embellishments to add. With my wind chime, I wanted to take these average, bits of industrial trash and transform them into a functional work of art. I think there is something especially inspiring about giving purpose to things that are normally considered useless junk.

This project was kind of different for me because I don't have much experience with building sculptures out found object. I usually just stick to two dimensions, so there was definitely a learning curve. It was kind of crazy to be so "hands on" with my work.. I had to thoroughly handle each piece, including all the rust, dirt and grime that came along with it. I also implemented a large amount of aluminum wiring, which is another material that is still somewhat foreign to me. Because of this, I had to be a little bit more resourceful with my tools. This time, I actually had to use pliers, crimps and wire cutters to get the effects I wanted in my artwork!

The finished result reminds me of a nest that an overzealous bird would build- Scavenging from bits and pieces of every shiny or colorful fragment it could find.

To string my objects on, I used old junk chains from broken jewelry I have accumulated over the years. They were perfect for the "industrial" theme I was trying to go for, and was great for attaching the charms too.

Some of my favorite components of the wind chime include these two "evil eyes" made from some more 1970's pop tabs.

 I like to think that they ward off evil whenever the wind blows.

Charms that I used in my wind chime include various bottle caps, metal cogs, buckles and broken glass bottles. It was an interesting challenge having to"beautify" each scrap, each thing required something a little different. Some things, like the glass shards for example, didn't need much decoration at all. They already look like shiny shards of crystal.

I even used charms on my charms!
. It started with a cruddy old beer can, but ended with a new found respect for discarded objects. Just about anything can be beautiful if shown in the right light.

My new found objects wind chime hanging out  on the trellis.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Phoenix

The mythical firebird Phoenix lives in cycles of 1,000 years at a time. Nearing the end of this cycle, the phoenix ignites in a blaze of flames and completely burns itself to ashes. From those very ashes a young, refreshed phoenix emerges, reborn again to live for another 1,000 years.
Just making an update about a very personal artwork I've been working on recently. It's a phoenix done in a rather "traditional" medium for me, colored pencil. I wasn't sure how crazy I could get with my materials this time because it's a gift to my cousin who is currently incarcerated.  

I guess I should explain the situation a little further.  I usually don't share bummer stories like this, but it's so astonishingly sad that I feel like it should be put out there just so that people know it happens. My cousin (and my family in general) has had a very rocky couple of years. It began with the death of our grandparents, who both passed within 5 years of each other. They were the "glue" that really kept my family together. My cousin was especially close to my grandparents as they were major influential figures in his life.  Then, to make matters worse, his mom gets diagnosed with breast cancer. As she was going through chemo, my cos got "mixed up in the wrong crowd" so to speak and was influenced to make mistakes that will now cost him years of freedom. His mom passed away while he was in jail. Can you imagine what this must feel like?

My cousin is only 17.  He still has an entire lifetime ahead of him...

As an artist, I regularly give people artwork as gifts all the time, but for obvious reasons I tried to make this piece especially meaningful. The phoenix mythology has always been attached to the symbolism of rebirth and renewal, which is the only positive thing that can come out of tragic situations like these. I hope that this can at least encourage my cousin to move forward with his life and have the strength to start anew. We are all given the chance to move beyond our past if we put fourth the effort to do so.